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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

November 10, 2009
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, 512.477.2152

   Sierra Club Hosts 850 Parties to Preview Film, Take Action

Film Star Ashley Judd Delivers Special Message to Thousands as they Watch "Coal Country," ask Obama Administration to End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

San Francisco -- This week thousands of Americans are gathering at more than 850 parties organized by the Sierra Club to watch the award-winning documentary, Coal Country, and to take action to stop mountaintop removal coal mining. Coal Country is a stunning film that reveals the devastation of mountaintop removal coal mining to the forests, streams, and communities of Appalachia. More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the parties to organize their communities and to take action. Sierra Club is an underwriter and national outreach partner of Coal Country.

After viewing the 40-minute preview version of Coal Country, friends and neighbors will discuss the film and the need to move beyond coal. Attendees will then dial in to hear a special message from film star Ashley Judd -- who was raised in Kentucky -- and a former coal miner in West Virginia who is featured in the film. They will then draft letters to the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality urging them to enact rules to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.

"The fact that people across the country are gathering with their neighbors to watch this powerful film, to learn about mountaintop removal coal mining and to take action should send a clear message to the Obama administration," said Mary Anne Hitt, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. "To prevent further destruction, the Obama administration must adopt new rules to preserve the mountains, streams and communities of Appalachia, including preventing the use of mining and other waste materials to pollute the region's waterways."

Some notable Coal Country house parties include:
• In Portland, Oregon, attendees at a Washington Theater screening are learning how coal impacts Oregon despite its distance from Appalachia's coalfields and the local efforts to break Oregon's coal habit
• In Binghamton, New York, students are using the attention around Coal Country to call upon the university administration to stop burning dirty coal in the central heating plant on campus.
• In Little Rock, Arkansas, Coal Country screens at the Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church as part of its Creation Care Film series, aimed at empowering stewards of the earth.

The Sierra Student Coalition and Sierra Club's Campuses Beyond Coal Campaign has ignited students at colleges across America, with more than 150 campuses hosting their own screenings of Coal Country.

The Coal Country world television premiere will be November 14th at 8 p.m. ET on Planet Green. Coal Country's executive produce is Mari-Lynn Evans, and the writer/producer/director is Phylis Geller.

The film is also available for purchase on DVD, along with a CD soundtrack, the proceeds from which support efforts to end mountaintop removal coal mining.

To be released by Sierra Club Books in November, the companion volume Coal Country: Rising Up Against Mountaintop Removal provides additional insight into the voices and issues put forth by the film through a series of essays, photos, and personal histories. The book features notes from the film's personalities as well as writing from Wendell Berry, Silas House, and Denise Giardina and entertainers Ashley Judd, Loretta Lynn, and Kathy Mattea.

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